Crime / Drama

IMDb Rating 6.9 10 687


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June 15, 2020


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973 MB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
100 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.76 GB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
100 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Dave Godin 9 / 10 / 10

Clouzot's revenge..?

MANON may well be Clouzot's misanthropic riposte to the terrible injustice he suffered in post-war France when he was accused of making a "collaborationist" film, LE CORBEAU, and subsequently barred from working in the French film industry for five years as punishment. (LE CORBEAU is in fact the only film that I know of made during the Pétain era that presented any sort of subversive threat to that collaborationist regime; one which, let it not be forgotten, was officially recognised by the USA, the Soviet Union, and The Vatican). It is as if Clouzot wanted to show both the depths to which humans will sometimes sink in order to pursue their own personal well-being, (collaborating with evil), as well as the greater moral outrage of war and its aftermath, which never somehow seems to eclipse or exceed society's trivial and self-righteous moral preoccupation with human sexuality. It is a film about survival in a society which has become brutalised and desensitised by war, where racketeers, gangsters and prostitutes resort to any means or method as they ruthlessly take the measure of the hypocrisy of the dominant ideology and act in kind. Totally apolitical, feckless and bereft of any human sympathy for anyone but themselves, they become a bleak and grotesque underclass that has taken "the rules of the game" to its logical, hideous, and heartless conclusion. Manon, the central character, is not so much slut turned prostitute, as prostitute turned slut. Dehumanised by the experience of the war and the cruel retribution that subsequently scape-goated women whose only "crime" of collaboration was to have sex with German soldiers whom their own government had described as "guests", (and which are now re-written into history as "occupiers"), she sees sex as a means to an end; her only available weapon in her own personal war of survival in a cruel and cynical world. But, although to all intents and purposes she has long since convinced herself that she has consciously extinguished any kind or compassionate part of her nature, or human fellow-feeling she might once have had, it returns with an ironic and cruel vengeance when she meets someone whom she really loves. Like Lulu in PANDORA'S BOX, the first and only time she shows a genuine acte-gratuite of human kindness, her fate becomes sealed, and this "weakness" becomes the very means and vehicle by which she will meet her downfall. As a heartless tart she can make it, but as a vulnerable loving human, she is doomed. When she and her lover flee as illegal immigrants to try and find happiness in Palestine, she is shot in the desert by marauding Arabs, and dies in the arms of her lover; one of cinema's most powerful and memorable scenes in which he buries her corpse in the sand, but cannot bring himself to finally cover her face. Originally banned in the UK but passed with cuts by the London Council, (even then, they ordered no less than 10 cuts in the film's trailer!!), it has, as a result, become a forgotten and lost film, and if remembered at all, (as is so often the case in these matters), it is for the "controversy" it caused when it was new, despite the fact that it was awarded The Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. A gesture which, I suspect, also reflected the jury's contempt for the post-war injustice meted out to Clouzot over LE CORBEAU. Clouzot was one of the world's most gifted directors, and all his films merit not just one, but several viewings, and MANON is one of his very best.

Reviewed by dbdumonteil 10 / 10 / 10

Nothing is dirty when we love each other.....

"Manon" might well be Clouzot's masterpiece ,surpassing even "diabolique " " le salaire de la peur" or "le corbeau". It's an adaptation of "l'histoire de Manon Lescault et du chevalier des Grieux" by L'Abbé Prévost, a novel from the XVIIIth century ,but never mind.When HGC Clouzot takes a novel,he makes it his very own .He would do the same for detective story " celle qui n'était plus " which he completely rewrote for "les diaboliques" Clouzot's misanthropy has never been so omnipresent that in this opus.He became an outcast after the liberation in 1945 because of his "collaboration" -"le corbeau " was produced by a German firm-and one cannot help but think that his painting of the end of WW2 seems a settling of scores:the cropped women -they say it happened to the star of "le corbeau " Ginette Leclerc who had a lot of problems too-,the black market ,the war profiteers ,no one is spared in this wholesale massacre.Serge Regianni epitomizes the scumbag ,in a part which sometimes recalls that of Carné's "les portes de la nuit".But evil is not only inside him,it's everywhere :Clouzot's world is noir ,noir ,noir and leaves absolutely no hope to the audience . And however the way he films his lovers is stunning:on the ship, Manon under the pouring rain,trying to spend her last hours with Robert;Manon ,in the confessional,in a church in ruins ,explaining to Robert she did not do any harm to anyone and that, had the American come first ,she would not have played around with the Germans ;the first night of love where the lovers become shadows in the dark;Robert finding Manon in a brothel;Manon desperately searching for her lover in the overcrowded carriage ;and mainly mainly the extraordinary final scenes the romanticism of which surpassing even the frenzied passion of "Colorado territory" or "duel in the sun".Actually ,Clouzot's extravaganza is not unlike Von Stroheim's "greed" 's madness. The male lead ,Michel Auclair,is absolutely extraordinary :the last ten minutes are his and he 's so moving that he carries these sequences in the desert single -handedly as much as he carries Manon' s dead body.But Clouzot's directing will leave you on the edge of your seat as well:the long walk under a blistering sun ,the cactuses which become ghosts from the past ,Robert burying Manon in the sand and screaming that now she's his at last. Cécile Aubry (debut) portrays Manon . Seven years before Carroll Baker in "baby doll", she is a femme enfant -much more than a femme fatale-.She's not evil,but she lives in a hostile world and she does not want to live like her mother,she needs luxury;it's a sensitive character who feels remorse ,pain and loves Robert dearly even when she cheats on him outrageously.Her good-natured sexuality and her absence of hypocrisy predates that of Brigitte Bardot by seven years too. Their problem is the world outside :that's why the key of the movie is the sequence in the oasis "why couldn't we stay here forever? " Manon asks.As they leave this haven of peace -the only minutes of happiness in the whole movie" ,Clouzot films their reflections in the cool clear water.And the fact that Manon and Robert are looking for a promise land in the desert in the company of Jews ,what a symbol!"paradise is too far away"she says. The rest of the cast features some of the best actors of the era:Serge Regianni,Manon's dirty brother;Gabrielle Dorziat ,a madam ,screaming "quel bordel!" ; Helena Manson,the nurse in "le corbeau" who wants to punish the whore who sleeps with the enemy;and more and more and more.. Another permanent feature in Clouzot's work is the sordidness of the places:the crummy boarding-school of "les diaboliques" ,the seedy apartments in "quai des orfèvres" ,the poor hospital in "les espions" ,and here the ship where they pack Jews on their way to Palestine ,not to mention the desert with its animal skeletons -soon to be joined by those of the Jews- The action of this movie is remarkably dense ,and its construction very subtle :the film begins with the illegal embarkation of the Jews ,and then ,at the least expected moment,the lovers appear for the first time and shortly afterwards tell the captain their sad story . Did French cinema need the nouvelle vague so bad when it had a genius like Clouzot?"Manon" is an absolute must. N.B.1.Another modern "Manon" "Manon 70" (sic) was made in the sixties with Catherine Deneuve ,but it was laughable. 2.Cécile Aubry's actress career was short-lived;in the sixties ,she moved into the -rather bland- serial for children ,the likes of "Belle et Sebastien" featuring her own son;she was very successful.

Reviewed by vitaleralphlouis 10 / 10 / 10

Classic Quality by Any Measure.

My first contact with MANON was at age 11 when it played many weeks at the small PLAZA in Washington, DC. The ads said, "Cecile Aubry's gift to the world --- Her body!" To which my older brother said, "What body? She doesn't have one!" Hmm! My poor brother; what does he know? Anyway, I didn't see MANON in 1949, but 56 years later, thanks to eBay, I caught up on this classic, and without disappointment. This film has the authentic feel of classics like Italy's "Bicycle Thief" and "Paisan" --- having the ravages of World War II right there and everywhere you look in 1949, neither war-torn Europe nor attitudes needed to be re-created. The story is involving from the first moments and never lets up. Manon and her soul-mate Robert meet when he helps save her from the collaborator-head-shave she's sentenced to endure as punishment for her attentions to German soldiers. They will remain together throughout her numerous and shameless infidelities, each of which serves both of them, and never with any loss of love for Robert. Cecile Aubry's femme-innocent was a rare thing to see in 1949. Truly experienced men know that getting and holding a young woman like Manon is a never-ending challenge that no real man would ever quit. While traditional "built like a brick you-know-what" sexpots wait in vain for the phone to ring, the femme-innocents are fighting men off like flies. This film will show the viewer many of the dark sides of the pre- and post- liberation era which history might like to have buried. I'll skip over most of the compelling story and just say that the final scenes, when the couple arrive in Palestine along with the Jewish refugees --- these are scenes that define classic movies. Amen!

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